Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Anime 2013: Steel on Steel

This Summer was a season full of hotties a la Free! and while hot bods are definitely most welcome in the anime-scape for reasons we all know too well, the more hot-blooded of our kin lie in wait, hoping that the next season will bring more action, missiles, clanging steel, anything at all, actually.

Just no more guys in too-tight swimming trunks shucking their clothes at the barest provocation. (and to clarify, as a member of the female species myself, I have absolutely nothing against this.)

Butwe know that, when we do get tired of muscled bodies, bouncing anatomy and run-of-the-mill action-adventure fare, we always have Giant robots to turn to.

Or in the case of Fall 2013, 1/144 giant-ish robots.

The next season brings us good, old fashioned steel-on-steel. We catch a look at two of Fall's more shonen offerings.


Airing from: October 2013

Arena fighting! Gundam! What?

When Mobile Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G released its 3 straight to video episodes. The fans were intrigued by the concept.

Three years and a certain anime named Danball Senki later. Sunrise and Bandai are working together to bring you the next installment within the Gundam timeline. Something involving people taking their Gundam models to arenas to fight competitions and have little simulated wars. Gundam Build Fighters.

And of course, the whole harmless industry ultimately leads to some deep, dark danger that our heroes must diffuse. Sounds familiar? Well, that's because you have seen it before! The horror! Imagine the reactions of fanbase!

(I have utmost pity and respect for the people who have witnessed the moreextreme of these reactions and somehow still manage to keep their faith in humanity intact.)

In the newest Gundam Anime tells of Sei Iori, a builder of Gundam models, and Reiji, an overbearing boy with an incredible aptitude for piloting Gundam models. As the anime's official website very succinctly tells us.

Sei, the Gunpla Builder.

Reiji, the Gunpla Fighter.

Sei builds, Reiji fights.

Together, they're the Build Fighters!

Deep stuff.

See, in the future, there's this thing called Plavsky particles that help breathe life into Gunpla models, which then battle using the Battle System. The Plavsky particles the help to create lasers and explosions, rendering the battle as realistic as possible.

Deficiencies, perceived or not, aside, an upside to the new series is that fans will get to see their favourite mobile suits from different universes and different timelines have it out in new battles. Ever wanted to see bad things happen to the Strike Freedom courtesy of the Banshee or the Unicorn? With this new series, you may just get that chance.

I personally would love to see bad things happen to the Strike Freedom courtesy of the Bearguy and judging from the trailer, I am thrilled that it actually might happen

Not to mention that the production team behind this series is amazing in its own right, directing Build Fighters is Kenji Nagasaki, the Assistant director of the Gundam 00 TV series. Screenwriter Yosuke Kuroda, also of Gundam 00 fame, will also be on board for this production. So fans of that series may very well be in for a treat.

People have observed that, despite the rehashed and quite honestly tired storyline. (as things are now) The animation in the trailer for the series remains high quality Gundam fare, but as preferences go, this is pretty subjective, so you can watch the trailer below and decide for yourself.

By now its pretty hard to argue that these simulated little Gundam battles are nowhere near as epic as the huge ones fans are used to. Because some of it looks like pretty darn solid action.

The take is that, although this one is certainly a mixed bag, but it is, or at least parts of it are not to be missed, nonetheless, by the nostalgic fan or the newbie looking for a rundown of the previous mobile suits.


Airing from: October 2013

The words "mixed bag" seem to aptly describe the series I'm covering here.

Yes, the anime is returning for a season 2, and depending on who you ask, that's a very good, or very bad, thing.

Valvrave's run was characterised by its constantly changing tone and pace. Earning it the dubious label "Good but incomprehensible" from anime website Sankaku Complex, one that has since echoed over the interwebs. Other labels include "Makes Naruto look like god" courtesy of Mechaslash. I

f you still have difficultly believing Valvrave's mixed status, just head over to the Crunchyroll forums where you can watch people alternately praise Valvrave for having the best storytelling since Code Geass and having extremely bad storytelling like, "so bad its good."

A scene in the first episode

Having rapidly switched its storyline from action-adventure with giant robots to Slice-of-life comedy that also just so happens to involve giant robots, to an a anime containing, well, oodles of glorious fanservice, with giant robots of course. Valvrave the liberator has successfully earned itself both name and notoriety. Inchoherent or off-beat? Well, we are not quite sure which one it is ourselves.

A scene somewhere in between, liberally gaussian blurred.

But jokes aside, the perceived bad storytelling cannot discount from the thrillingly streamlined mecha, the good music, great sound and special effects. Say this, the people who genuinely like Valvrave's schtick right now will probably like the Second installment as well and the opposite goes for people who have so little love for Valvrave its almost a vacuum of emotions and a whirlwind of cold. Nothing of note within the cast or the storyline seems to have been changed, which is good or bad news.

Depending who you ask, of course.

You can see Valvrave the Liberator's vague and dramatic trailer below.

And if, for all the hate in the world, you are still an avid supporter of Valvrave, good for you. It is coming back after all, you win.
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